Two of my favorite things are fall hikes, and pie. I probably like pie more than hiking, kayaking, gardening, and foraging. And I adore hiking, kayaking, gardening, and foraging. We live on a quarter acre lot and don’t grow black walnuts. But black walnut trees grow along some of the trials I frequent. In the fall, I hike, and gather nuts, and I get pie. Black walnut pie.
Identifying Black Walnuts
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Black Walnut trees (Juglan nigra) are found growing in sunny area in most central and eastern parts of the United States. It is a deciduous tree that often grows to 130 feet.
The bark of the black walnut is deeply ridged and forms a diamond pattern. Its leaves are compound and are arranged alternately on the stem.
Gathering black walnuts is the easiest part of the process. When ready in the fall, the nuts will just fall to the ground. There are tools available to help collect them if you are so inclined. I go into detail concerning harvesting, hulling, curing and cracking black walnuts here.
Using Black Walnuts
Although the taste is quite different, black walnuts may be used to replace English walnuts in any recipe. They can replace other nuts as well and I’ve taken my pecan pie recipe and replaced the pecans to make this black walnut pie. It’s really delicious.